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April 3, 2014
labelled sheets

A lot of my subscribers ask me what bed sheets to use for vacation rentals and home exchanges, and so I decided to write a post about it and share two of my recent favorite discoveries with you today.

You see, I am obsessed with bed linens; in fact, I would venture to say that I am on a continual quest to find perfect bed sheets.

White bed sheets.

The Beauty of a White Sheet

White sheets symbolize elegant simplicity. They are beautiful when smooth and beautiful when wrinkled. Photo courtesy of Charlie Sorrel.

I always recommend white sheets for vacation rentals and home exchanges.

Why white? Well, there are four main reasons.

1.  Guest Psychology

White has traditionally been the color used in hotels. The hospitality industry funds studies on guest psychology; they know there is a primal association between the color white and cleanliness. I guess it makes sense if you think about it. If you are presented with a crisp set of white sheets, you see they are clean, right? On the other hand, if they are maroon, or blue or any other color, they could be clean, but who would know? Most colors, besides white, camouflage dirt.

White Sheets at Babinton House Hotel

The bright, white sheets we see in hotel rooms are no accident. The hospitality crowd knows there is an association between bright white and cleanliness. Babington House

And subconsciously guests know this. Bright freshly laundered white sheets look cleaner and seem more sanitary. They can relax. It’s a primal thing.

2.   Easy to Maintain

Not all vacation guests treat your sheets with respect. With white, you can bleach stains away. You can also wash white bed sheets in very hot water and they come out looking new.

3.   Easy to Replace

When it comes time to replace some of your white sheets, you will always find the perfect color match every time – white! And who gets sick of bright, crisp white?

4.   Enhance other design elements

Lastly, white sheets contrast nicely with the bedspread or blanket, as well as the shams and decorative pillows. Your guest’s eyes will really notice their patterns or colors when you set them against white.

Dormy Hotel Room

White sheets make everything next to them more noticeable. Here in the Dormy House Hotel, do you see how the bedspread, pillows, blue bed and wallpaper stand out? That’s all due to the power of bright white sheets!

Two Great White Sheet Options I’ve Personally Bought and Slept On

1. The Distinguished Guest

I was introduced to The Distinguished Guest by way of Matt Landau of Vacation Rental Marketing Blog , who featured owner Alanna Shroeder on a blog post. Her company concept sounded so brilliant – hotel quality linens made for the vacation rental industry – that I had to try some out.

Sheet set by the Distinguished Guest

“Your guest will sink into these crispy white hotel sheets after a long day of sightseeing,” says the website, The Distinguished Guest. The sheets are a 65/35 cotton polyester blend made with Pima cotton and are made exclusively for the hospitality trade by Standard Textile.

I bought the Centima Sheets by Standard Textile 250TC which are sold piecemeal, so one flat, one fitted and 2 pillowcases. They were the most basic option on the website. Buying was seamless and straightforward – something that really matters to me – and the shipment was pretty quick. Taking the sheets out of the box for the first time, they felt a little stiff (as most new sheets do) so I added a cup of baking soda to the wash, an old trick my grandmother taught me to soften new sheets. Then I  tumble dried them with a lacrosse ball, to pound in even more softness. The difference was immediately noticeable. They felt a little fuzzier. For good measure, I decided to wash them three more times before trying them out, for a more realistic assessment. In fact, I always recommend washing new sheets at least a few times before trying them out on guests.

After four washings (the first with a cup of baking soda), the Distinguished Guest sheets were measurably softer. Here's a close up of the fitted portion right before putting them on my bed.

After four washes (the first with a cup of baking soda), the Distinguished Guest sheets were measurably softer. Here’s a close up of the fitted part right before putting them on my bed.

One of the first things I noticed when I made up the bed is how unwrinkled Alanna’s sheets remain, even after a night’s sleep. I know this is important in the vacation rental and home exchange business; most owners want a crisp, smooth bed linen look, and so these sheets deliver with their 65/35 Pima cotton-polyester blend. The great thing is that you would never guess there’s any polyester! They feel like 100% Pima cotton. However, polyester is the secret ingredient to a no-iron bed sheet and most of you would rather skip ironing, right?

Sheets by The Distinguished Guest

These sheets are crisp and luxurious at the same time. Here they are on my bed this morning.

I rate the comfort level a dependable 8 on a scale from 1 to 10, which is pretty darn commendable considering the price! A queen set is only $48. I have spent twice that on bed sheets not delivering half the softness.

My husband especially loves these sheets saying they remind him of the crisp, comforting bed linens of his grandmother’s Long Island beach house of his childhood. She apparently sprayed a bit of lavender water on them before making up the guest bed. The first weekend we tried the sheets out, he stayed in bed an extra long time, even bringing his coffee in to read the paper.

Bed with coffee in the morning

The mark of a good sheet is not wanting to get out of them in the morning. My husband’s coffee is on the tray.

So a thumbs up to The Distinguished Guest bed sheets; they definitely live up to Alanna’s vision. They are competitively priced and deliver a high quality, dependable product.

Now to my second recommendation…..

 2. E-Luxury Sheets

Years ago, I had the opportunity to buy some 800-count Italian sheets for an amazing price because an upscale bed linen boutique was going out of business. I had never slept on high-thread-count sheets before and as soon as I slipped between those lovelies, I had an Aha moment wherein I realized, “Ok, I get why people spend a fortune on thread-count.” Thread-count, simply put, is the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric and it’s based on the threads woven horizontally (“weft”) and vertically (“warp”).

Unfortunately, you can’t really trust most thread-count claims because it’s easy for manufacturers to cheat. Extra threads can be woven into the weft threads to increase the thread-count and then these added threads, called “picks” are added in the overall count, which is how some sheets end up having thread counts in the thousands.

The Italian mills are by far the most reliable sources of truly high-thread-count bedding, but their prices are exorbitant. De Medici, for example, asks $340 for one queen flat 640-thread count sheet! Wow! Unless you have a vacation rental that receives the 1% crowd, it doesn’t make sense for the average vacation pad.

So, bearing all this in mind, I thought it too good to be true when I saw a queen set of 1000-thread count sheets selling for $150 from eLuxury! I was skeptical of course, but the reviews were phenomenal and I was intrigued by the company’s founder, Paul Sanders, whose goal is simple – provide the best bedding, using the best materials, for the best price.

The marketing states

Our bed sheets range anywhere from a 300-thread count all the way up to 1500. Our Egyptian Cotton Sheets are made with cotton grown and harvested in the Egyptian Nile Delta. The sheets are single ply, long-staple fiber, and are milled on Italian Cotton Looms. These characteristics of the Egyptian cotton combined with its milling process ensure the strength and long-term comfort of the high thread count sheets they become. 

What the heck! They’re milled in Italy! It was too tempting to pass up. I clicked Buy.

1000 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets by Exceptional Sheets

I bought these heavenly 1000 thread-count sheets on eLuxury Supply for only $150.

The sheets arrived about a week later. I took some photos when I unpacked them.

Sheets from Exceptional Sheets

The 1000-thread count sheets from eLuxury arrived bundled up in a pretty white ribbon.

The first thing I noticed was how thick they are. I would estimate they are at least double the weight of most bed sheets.

Fitted Queen sheet from Exceptional Sheets

Wow! Here is the bottom sheet from Exceptional Sheets. Can you see how thick it is!

They have a nice sheen too.

Exceptional Sheets Topsheet 1000 thread count

The top sheet stitching is very simple, which probably accounts for the cost being a third lower than that of other high thread count sheets. My motto? Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Unlike fancy topstitching common in more expensive sheets, like Anichini or Frette, the top sheet decorative seam detail is fairly simple. This is probably one reason the cost is lower than comparable thread-count sheets.

Making the bed was quite straightforward. My mattress is only 7 1/2 inches thick so the fitted sheet was a bit loose. You could add a couple of inches and the bottom sheet would probably fit a bit better. I’m fine with it though.

Exceptional Sheets 1000 Thread Count Sheets

If you look at the bottom sheet, you will notice that it prefers a thicker mattress, but otherwise, these sheets were made in heaven. You can see that we don’t iron sheets in our household.

As for comfort, I am stunned by how soft and heavenly these sheets are. I actually look forward to going to bed at night since buying them, and if it’s a weekend, I love to lounge in bed late into the morning with my coffee and a book. My only concern is the thickness will only be appropriate for the winter months in southern California; I’m afraid come summer, these will have to be packed away. The top sheet almost feels like an extremely light blanket.

The only not so great aspect of these sheets is that they wrinkle really easily. Look at them on my bed for a realistic assessment. Personally, I don’t mind a sexy, rumpled look, but if that’s going to bug you, then you’ll have to either iron these or steam them. I’m not full of laundry tricks, so perhaps I’m just not using the right technique or product, but even when I take these straight out of the dryer, they aren’t smooth.

All in all, I love these sheets and if you don’t mind the labor of steaming or ironing, these are a guaranteed guest pleaser. I predict that you’ll get guests commenting right away, even leaving glowing reviews on how heavenly the bed is.

3. And the Third Option

“A third suggestion? I thought you only had two recommendations,” you ask. Well, that’s true but I just couldn’t help showing off my latest score from an estate sale in Santa Barbara curated by The Attic SB. The entire contents of a luxury vacation rental went on sale, early on a Saturday morning a couple of weekends ago, and I was able to pick up complete Frette bedding for a queen bed – top and bottom sheets, duvet cover with duvet inside, four pillow cases along with four pillows (sheathed in pillow protectors)! All almost new! The price?

$95! Ninety. Five. Dollars.

So option three is to go to local estate sales in upscale neighborhoods and see if you can score upscale bedding. Even if you don’t find bed linens, there is always something to be found at an estate sale, especially for vacation rentals. And if you get there early, you find the best stuff.

Sheet Set from Frette

Complete Frette queen sheet set, duvet cover, duvet, and four pillows for $95 at Santa Barbara estate sale. I love estate sales for scooping up great finds for vacation rentals.


Just because I posted this article, does not mean I have finished my quest for the perfect white sheet. I am always on the lookout, always looking for great options for my subscribers. If anyone knows of another perfect white sheet, please let me know right down there in the comment box. I am anxious to hear more! You see, I firmly believe there are a few more perfect white sheets out there with whom I still have not been lucky enough to cross paths.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d love it if you share the love and press one of the buttons below. And if you want to get more of these useful articles about designing vacation rentals, subscribe to One Chic Retreat below. I’ll give you the 31 Must Have Essentials that Guarantee Guest Happiness List as a thank you for subscribing.

Here’s to many happy bookings ahead!

  • What a great post Mercedes, and beautifully illustrated. I highly recommend The Distinguished Guest for good quality linens at great prices. I have a set I have been using in my cottage rental and they become softer and more luxurious on each wash. No ironing required which is a huge bonus. We have white sheets on every bed – and they look stunning.

    • Thanks Heather! They do get softer and softer as they age. They are on my bed right now and I have my coffee right beside me as I write this. :)

      • Meaghan Len

        Can you guys please tell me which of the three sheets listed on The Distinguised Guest’s website that you guys are referring to? There are the 1) Centium Satin Sheets by Standard Textile 300TC, 2) ComforTwill Sheets by Standard Textile T250, Tone on Tone, 3) Centima Sheets by Standard Textile 250TC. However all are 65/35 blends and not 60/40 THANKYOU!!!

        • Hi Meaghan, I am referring to the Centium Satin Sheets by Standard Textile 300 TC Sheets. Thanks for making the correction and I will make the edit. Thanks for reaching out!

  • Eva Whitney

    Awesome post Mercedes! Thanks so much! I have been passing around TDG info as well. One of my owners likes me to have the sheets laundered and ironed, I was lucky to find a great place out here for our linens, but I like the material Alanna is using for no iron especially when we have tight turnarounds & can’t get to the laundry! Thanks, so well put together, will be sharing with my peeps :)

  • Such a great post Mercedes. Love it. My plan is to take my bedding a little bit more seriously and I would love to try out good quality linens and in white! Love your tips.

  • Great post Mercedes I can almost taste your sheets they all sound so yummy.

    I use only 100% Egyptian cotton sheets and the higher the thread count the better they are. Yes they’re stiff but they soften with age and they wash so beautifully and they wear like steel!!

    I’ve been using Egyptian sheets for the past 14 years at Niagara on the Lake Cottage Rental!! No wonder my guests sleep in and say they love the bedding!!

    • Thanks for the info, Maria! May I ask where you buy your sheets? And do you iron/steam them before putting them on?

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  • Glenn

    Mercedes, I have finally met someone as interested in bed sheets as me. I cannot believe it! And I can tell you all kinds of laundry tricks…

    • Glenn, that is a happy coincidence! Please share your finds and laundry tips with our community! Thanks for sharing too.

  • Paola Gheis

    Mercedes, great post and perfect timing as i am thinking to change the bed linen in my vacation rental. I feel I can make a better choice as i am more informed. thanks for testing all these sheets for us (and for the many washing)! :-)

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  • A few years ago I switched from a random collection of crappy sheets to all Ralph Lauren sheets (and towels) since it was a well known brand name that would lend instant trust to the experience. Definitely a great idea to improve the quality! However, after reading your article, I love the idea of all white sheets (I have several colors now)….it makes much more sense all around! Great article Mercedes!

  • J Bop

    Could you tell me what size pillows best fit the 42×36 pillowcases from the Distinguished Guest? I’m having trouble finding big enough pillows to fill out the pillowcases. Thanks!

    • Hi J Bop, I just contacted Alanna to ask her and she says that her pillowcases are designed to fit both standard and king sizes. The standard is 20″ x 26″ and the king is 20″ x 36.” You say 42″ x 36,” so are you speaking of decorative sham pillows?

      • J Bop

        Oops, I’m not sure what I else I was reading, mixed up some things. Thank you for your effort to clear it up! Great article.

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  • Hi Mercedes,
    Having taken your advice regarding dheets to heart, I recently purchased two different types of 1000 count sheets at my local East Coast Job Lot store. One set is all cotton, the other 60-40 polyester. Well. I had Guests who were friends come and try them out, and the 60-40 sheets won hands down! you are correct about the all cotton sheets. They’re very stiff, and heavy. I washed them four times, using my dryer balls in the wash and the dryer. This did help a bit, but they’re still very… unyielding is the only term I can think of. I also took them through my rinse cycle only with tons of fabric softener, and rinsed them several times. No luck. I did figure out how to lessen the wrinkles though. I dried them on ultra low heat! They were practically wrinkle free, but it took a long time for them to dry. I took them outside to hang on the line for that fresh smell as soon as the drier stopped, and a few more wrinkles fell out. Unfortunately, this process is far too time consuming for my busy season, so I’ll reserve them for my slow periods. (Like now! Drat!)
    Now, the 60-40 sheets are a different story. Yum! Everyone like the satiny sheen, and heavier feel of these sheets. The price was right too, at $50 a set on sale, ($60 when not on sale.) and they even came with 4 pillowcases, (Thank you manufacturer!) a real bargain right there. While I love to use those beautiful colored sheets, the Guests do seem to prefer the all white, so white it is. It’s duvet covers I have trouble with! The size, and what type of quilt to put inside them. Susan

    • Hi Susan, so true! There is a reason the hospitality business tends to go for the combination 60-40 sheets – easier! I think if you have linen duvets and shams, you might be able to get away with a more wrinkled look, but it’s a fine line. Does your 60-40 source have a website where our community can buy? I will be starting a Resources Page soon and along with Distinguished Guest, I’d like to post other good sheet sets.

      • I don’t think they have a web site. I use the Christmas Tree shops, Ocean State job Lot, and Big Lots when I can get to one. These are discount stores that carry everything from mustard to garden tools. I believe Christmas tree shops do have a web site, and I almost think Big Lots does as well. I’ll try and check a bit more

  • Jencalifornia

    Thanks for plugging our shop and estate sale company The Attic! We were super happy to come across this. It was a great sale! :) Thanks a million!

  • One thing to be aware of about 100% Cotton sheets my fellow Hosts! THEY SHRINK! BADLY! I recently bought a Queen set of 1000 thread count 100% Cotton sheets. I took them out of their beautiful wrapper (!) and put them in the washer, on hot of course, to start the softening process. when I took them out of the dryer (set to medium) just before they were fully dry to line hang them (This helps the wrinkle problem), I thought they looked a bit smaller. Then, when I tried to put them on the bed, they didn’t fit. Not even close! Not only that, they didn’t want to fit my Full size beds either! So… caution is needed! Now I buy high thread count sheets with anywhere from 55>45, to 65>35 Cotton Polyester blend, as ALL my linens get washed on HOT!

    • Thanks for the warning, Susan! However, sheet brands vary as well. My Exceptional Sheets have not shrunk a bit and I’ve had them for well over a year now.

      • WOW! I didn’t know that! Is there a way to tell. prior to purchase, about the shrinkage?

        • It’s a matter of triall and error. That’s why I advise sticking to one dependable brand. Find something that works and you’re good to go. By the way, I love a bit of polyester in sheets. They look so much smoother when taking out of the dryer.

  • Gretchen Bach


    Two years ago I bought a complete set of distinguished guest sheets for my 14- bed rental and they are so pilled-up now that it going to bed feels like an exfoliation treatment! I have been told not to use bleach, but that is why I buy white! I have also been told to dry them on a low heat, but That doesn’t work for a 4 hour turn-over window!
    Maybe I should just accept that I am going to have to buy new sheets every year?


    Love your post. Thank you!


    • What a bummer Gretchen. I just interviewed Alanna and she indeed told me she recommends her owners buy new white sheets every year. Which of the Distinguished Guest sheets did you buy? Mine are doing really well.




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